Kibar Khalvashi, the new owner of Rustavi 2 TV, one of Georgia’s most-watched television broadcasters, said he will use all his “resources and opportunities” not to let TV company go bankrupt, as a week-long deadline that he had set for selling the company ended up with no buyer.
In a statement of August 19, Khalvashi said Rustavi 2 should become a commercial television, not burdened by any political obligation, which can affect its interests.
Khalvashi considers among his key obligations to release Rustavi 2 from ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s influence, and regain public trust. He also wants Rustavi 2 TV to be “critical and sharp,” but also follow “highly professional and ethical standards.”
At the same time, Khalvashi considers to continue a legal dispute with the former Director General of Rustavi 2, Nika Gvaramia, who, as Khalvashi says “was intentionally destroying the channel, damaging its interests, and using it only as a fighting tool in Saakashvili’s hands.”
“I am confident that Rustavi 2 will be an independent company both financially and politically, whereas, really independent journalists and a strong medium, free of political interests, will serve the best interests of the society,” Khalvashi stated.
On August 9, the Prosecutor’s Office charged Gvaramia over abuse of power. On August 11, the court ruled that Gvaramia has to post a GEL 40,000 bail and that he will not be able to leave the country without the prosecutor’s permission. On August 16, Gvaramia announced that he has established a new channel, which will start broadcasting soon.